You will never be able to do this to people. Instead, try this.

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The #1 Rule of Public Speaking: Know your Audience. Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

The #1 rule in public speaking and in marketing is to know your audience. Who are they? What are their fears? What are their dreams? What upsets them? What problems do they face right now? What positive outcomes do they seek? How have they gone about solving their problems in the past? Where do they see themselves going?

Yes. It turns out that empathy is the #1 rule in public speaking. Empathize with the audience. Get to know them. Know them better than they know themselves. Why is it important to get to know them? Because while it might sound hokey, people don’t care what you know until they know you care. You could be the founder of rocket science, but no one will listen to you until they feel like you get them, like you understand them, that you empathize with them. It’s just the way it is. Especially in public speaking today when everyone’s attention is lasered-in on their smart phone.

You will never be able to please all of the people, all of the time.

Amateurs do this. Amateurs look to please everyone. They say only nice things so as to not offend anyone. They did not take the time to understand the audience first, so they began with their stuff, who they are, their credentials, their history, and thus put the audience immediately to sleep or immediately to their iPhone. They never seek to polarize people. Amateurs do not understand social dynamics. Amateurs think it is possible to please all of the people all of the time.

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Make your talk for only these people.

Instead of trying to please all of the people, all of the time, make your talk for only these people.

Professionals understand their audience. Professionals get their people. Professionals deliberately polarize in their writing & in their talks. Professionals make lightning strike. Professionals take the time to understand social dynamics and create an Us vs. Them dynamic. Professionals get that you can never please all of the people all of the time, so make your writing for these people only.

Professionals write for a particular audience. They do not write for everyone. As an example, I write for concrete contractors. Other contractors might be attracted to my writing, but I am not writing for them. I’m only writing for one target audience I pick.

Where do you begin?

It is hard to overestimate the importance of picking one, single target market when beginning something. Like a good, well-written talk, all marketing campaigns should begin with the Who. Who are we targeting? Who is this for? Who best responds to what we’re thinking? Who are these people and how well do we know them? Do we know them at all? Or, do we know them better than they know themselves? How good is our data? Have we written a customer avatar on this audience? Do we feel we know what they best respond to? Do we know what’s working right now with this market? What does Amazon say customers like this also buy?

Note the aforementioned has nothing to do with your what. Until you know your target audience well, your what is not important. The problem is that most sales and marketing professionals start with their what and spend very little time thinking, pondering, and analyzing their who.

Always start with the market and what it wants. Always.

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I’m a sales, marketing and tech Pro who creates content designed to help people solve problems and shift perspectives.

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